My Life Story. Part 2: The Dropout, Vol. 1

All entries in the 'Life Story' series:

We are in 2012 now. New year, new me, nowhere to go but up.

I was starting classes at this fancy university. I was beyond excited; everything was pretty, the staff was really nice, and I was about to meet a ton of new people. Although that last part gave me tons of anxiety as well.

I still had this crush I mentioned towards the end of the previous entry, but I was coping; there were so many new and exciting things going on that my mind was distracted enough from that. I also had other issues…

Really fancy alright…
I took this picture in one of the restrooms in 2013.

I Fucking Sucked at Math 2012-2015

And even that bigass title is still an understatement.

Before starting class, I had to take a sort of “placement test” for both English and Math (Calculus). I nailed the former and fucked up the latter.
“Eh no big deal, I guess I’ll just take Pre-Calculus this semester and catch up the next”. Simple enough, right?

Remember how I hated homework when I was in high school? Well, that actually changed here; I really was trying, putting in the hours.
In my first programming course, I was doing just great; I already knew some logic from experimenting with Javascript during the holidays. There were other non-programming courses and I was doing just fine in those.

But Calculus? I was struggling, badly.
This was the beginning of one of the most frustrating periods of my life. Because I was really trying, and it just wasn’t working.
I would spend hours studying and solving problems, but when it was time to take a test my mind would go blank. Or even worse, I would feel really confident about my answers just to later realize that I had almost everything wrong.

This took a toll on me, as I was constantly asking myself “What the fuck is wrong with me?”. Not many people know this, and some others would just say “You’re just not studying hard enough”. But I was. I eventually gave up, yes, because I was just exhausted from the whole thing.
But I can say in good conscience that I tried my best, it just didn’t click.

I failed this course three times. A course with a name that begins with ‘pre‘.

In between semesters, I had the option to retake the placement test and see if I was able to start taking Calculus.
I failed this test twice. I failed it three times in total if you count the initial test before my first semester.

Luckily this ‘pre’ course had a Pass/Fail grading system with no impact on my GPA.
After the third time I failed the class, I finally was able to pass the placement test and was finally able to take Calculus. A year and a half later.

I could feel some of the motivation coming back, but I still felt embarrassed. I couldn’t help it; all my peers were miles ahead of me, and I felt like shit when they discussed the topics they were studying or the tests they were preparing for. It was an alien language to me.

Again, I was really trying my best. And fuck my life that wasn’t good enough, again.
I failed Calculus… And Physics 1. And then I failed those one more time.

I was never able to get a passing grade in those courses; my time in that school was cut short. You see, these two courses did have an impact on my GPA, and even though I was doing okay in most of my other classes, it wasn’t enough.

My GPA got so low that it earned my first suspension, but more on that later…

A Hard Life Lesson 2012-2015

So my academic life sucked. What else could go wrong?
I mean, I did get mugged like two months into the first year and I kept tripping and falling on my ass for some reason (like twice a week, seriously).

But that was nothing, even the mugging. You can always recover the material things.
I just wasn’t ready to have my mind shattered.

It was the second half of the first year, probably the first or second day of that semester.
I was outside a classroom, waiting for my next class with a then-friend. Then I saw her. I would say this is a core memory because I have that image imprinted on my mind.
The door was open and she was already sitting in the classroom. Big doe eyes, wearing a red crochet beret.
I was hooked instantly.

I remember asking my friend “Who is she?”.
“Her? Oh we were together in this other class, I think her name is Laura“, he said. “But I think she has a boyfriend”, he then added, anticipating my intentions.

I said something really stupid like “That’s not an issue” or “I can work with that”. Man, if I could travel back in time I would punch myself in the face.

I really can’t recall if I actually talked to her that day or not, but eventually, we began talking and spending some time together. We had this one class in common so we would often run into each other.
There was this one time when we ended up talking about Megadeth for some reason, and around this time I was a huge Megadeth fan (more on that later), so naturally she continued to pick my interest.

She indeed had a boyfriend, but it was me whom she’d spend entire nights chatting with.
I wish this wasn’t true because it sounds kind of dumb now, but we would literally fall asleep while on a video call, almost daily.

When we were in class together she’d wrap one leg around mine. She kept giving me signals; alas mixed signals.
And I kept waiting for my chance.

This went on and off for a while. It’s all a bit fuzzy now; I’m having trouble remembering the exact timeline.
After a while, her boyfriend was sick of me, and with reason. They had a toxic and fucked up relationship but that wasn’t an excuse for the stupid game she and I were playing.

This one time, I was sitting on a table in an open space, with a friend. I texted her to come over or something like that. I swear it was the most innocent text ever.
Oh, and she came over alright, power walking behind her boyfriend as this dude came over to the table fuming.

I saw him from a distance and said “Oh shit, this is it. I’m getting expelled today.”
I kept my cool, somehow.

When they got to where I was, he looked me dead in the eye and said something like “What’s your deal with her? I WANT YOU TO STAY AWAY FROM HER”. And she just stood there. This wasn’t just me flirting with her, no. She had led me on (it sounds fucked up, I know, but that’s the truth). And she just stood there.
He then, quite rudely asked me to leave. I could have argued that the place was open to all students, but I did want to get out of there.

I had been sitting between the table and a railing behind me, my friend was sitting to my right. To my left, there was an empty table, with just enough room between both tables for one person to pass.

I calmly gathered my things and put them all in my backpack. I stood up, and I could feel my friend’s stare in anticipation. I could have just walked off behind the other table, but no, that wouldn’t be badass.

This guy is standing between both tables, staring at me, and pointing towards the stairs at the far end of this place.
I took one step toward him and said something like “Please step back”. The entire message that my tone and posture sent him was “Please step back and to the side because I’m passing through”. I kept staring at him.

Now, I’m a short guy, but this guy looked minuscule as he took two steps back and around the table to let me pass. And I left with my chin up. And she just stood there.

I remember ceasing all contact with Laura after that. At least for a while.

Eventually, they broke up, and I hung out with her a lot again. When she had late classes I would stick around waiting for her, I would accompany her almost to her house – even though I lived on the other end of the city.

And she kept sending me mixed signals.

Once again, this kept going on and off for some time. It would last months (years?), and it didn’t really end until my time in that school ended as well.
And even after that, I missed her for quite a while.

This entire ordeal wrecked me mentally.
You can’t just give and give and give while hoping that the other person will eventually do the same.
I kept waiting and waiting, but nothing ever happened. She was just content with having me there, for when she felt bad and needed comfort.
She just liked having someone who loved her so much, that she really didn’t have to love them back.

This girl had (has) issues, and she caused me some of my own.
It took me years to come back to a somewhat stable state of mind, and even now I’m still fucked up in some ways.

I had more planned for this part, but it’s getting quite long already. It turned out to be quite tense as well, I need a break, and you could probably use one as well.

Vol .2 is out now.

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